Saving Energy Step 1 ? Implementing a Management System

There has been much hype down the years regarding whether management is art or science. Thankfully, where people are concerned the pendulum has swung away from standard times in sweatshops in the west. However, when it comes to measuring physical things like harvest per square meter and the amount of energy consumed there is no substitute for scientific measurement, and this implies a system.

Managing energy cost and consumption down is like any other strategy. American engineer / statistician / management consultant W. Edwards Demming may have passed on in 1993. However he was as right as ever when he said:

  1. When people and organizations focus primarily on quality, this tends to increase and costs fall over time.
  1. However, when people and organizations focus primarily on costs, costs tend to rise and quality declines over time.

Demming believed that 90% of organizational problems arise from systems we put in place ourselves. This can be because we are so accustomed to them that we fail to notice when they are no longer relevant. The currently prevailing laissez faire towards energy is a case in point. What is managed improves and what is not, deteriorates. We know this. Let us take a look at how to apply this principle to energy management.

First, you need to get the subject out the closet and talk about it. How often do you do this is your boardroom, and how does energy rank against other priorities? Good governance is about taking up a position and following through on it. Here is a handy checklist you may like to use.

  • Do we use a consistent language when we talk about energy? Is it electricity, or carbon emitted (or are we merely fretting over cost).
  • How well engaged are we as a company? Looking up and down and across the organization are there points where responsibility stops.
  • How well have we defined accountability? Do we agree on key performance areas and how to report on them.
  • Are we measuring energy use at each point of the business? When did we last challenge the assumption that ?we’re doing okay?.
  • Have we articulated our belief that quality is endless improvement, or are we simply chasing targets because someone says we should.

A management system is a program of policies, processes and methods to ensure achievement of goals. The next blog focuses on tools and techniques that support this effort.

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Which Services to Share?

It often makes sense to pool resources. Farmers have been doing so for decades by collectively owning expensive combine harvesters. France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain have successfully pooled their manufacturing power to take on Boeing with their Airbus. But does this mean that shared services are right in every situation?

The Main Reasons for Sharing

The primary argument is economies of scale. If the Airbus partners each made 25% of the engines their production lines would be shorter and they would collectively need more technicians and tools. The second line of reasoning is that shared processes are more efficient, because there are greater opportunities for standardisation.

Is This the Same as Outsourcing?

Definitely not! If France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain has decided to form a collective airline and asked Boeing to build their fleet of aircraft, then they would have outsourced airplane manufacture and lost a strategic industry. This is where the bigger picture comes into play.

The Downside of Sharing

Centralising activities can cause havoc with workflow, and implode decentralised structures that have evolved over time. The Airbus technology called for creative ways to move aircraft fuselages around. In the case of farmers, they had to learn to be patient and accept that they would not always harvest at the optimum time.

Things Best Not Shared

Core business is what brings in the money, and this should be tailor-made to its market. It is also what keeps the company afloat and therefore best kept on board. The core business of the French, German, United Kingdom and Spanish civilian aircraft industry is transporting passengers. This is why they are able to share an aircraft supply chain that spun off into a commercial success story.

Things Best Shared

It follows that activities that are neither core nor place bound – and can therefore happen anywhere ? are the best targets for sharing. Anything processed on a computer can be processed on a remote computer. This is why automated accounting, stock control and human resources are the perfect services to share.

So Case Closed Then?

No, not quite. ?Technology has yet to overtake our humanity, our desire to feel part of the process and our need to feel valued. When an employee, supplier or customer has a problem with our administration it’s just not good enough to abdicate and say ?Oh, you have to speak to Dublin, they do it there?.

Call centres are a good example of abdication from stakeholder care. To an extent, these have ?confiscated? the right of customers to speak to speak directly to their providers. This has cost businesses more customers that they may wish to measure. Sharing services is not about relinquishing the duty to remain in touch. It is simply a more efficient way of managing routine matters.

Recognizing Your Carbon Footprint

Countless times we have heard of the term ?carbon footprint?. Perhaps we have seen and heard it on TV or read it in newspapers, magazines and published articles. Indeed, it has been an expression familiar to everyone as it is always associated with climate change, carbon emissions, global warming, pollution and other environmental issues. Carbon footprint is real. It exists and, in fact, continues to affect the world we live in.

Defining Carbon Footprint

Two essential words comprise the term carbon footprint. Fundamentally, ?carbon? means the carbon dioxide circulating in the atmosphere. It is also the general word used for other greenhouse gasses emitted into the air. On the other note, ?footprint? refers to impact or effect.

Think about the footprints people leave on the beach sand upon walking on the shore. That is exactly what carbon footprint is like. It’s about the impact humans leave on the earth in the form of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Calculating Your Personal Carbon Footprint

The food we eat, products we use, vehicles we ride on and electricity we consume emit carbon dioxide. In fact, our activities, lifestyle, homes, and countries contribute to climate change. And carbon footprint is the best estimate we can get of the full impact our doings affect the earth. It quantifies the amount of our carbon emission. With this, knowing how to calculate your personal carbon footprint is important.

There are various standards in calculating one?s carbon footprint. There is the so-called ?lifestyle assessment? and the input-output analysis. Lifestyle assessment works by adding up all the feasible emission pathways while the input-output analysis involves determining the total emissions of a particular country, dividing it by the carbon-emitting sectors and estimating the overall emissions of each sector. The input-output analysis makes sure that no emission pathway is missed out.

Calculating your carbon footprint manually is an effective way for you to understand your emissions better. You just need a lot of patience to learn how each footprint is generated. Moreover, there are also several resources online that can help you calculate your carbon footprint. Online carbon calculators are abundant across the web. To make your life simpler, you can opt to try those online calculators and easily determine your carbon emissions. However, such calculators vary in scope. So make sure that the online carbon calculator, you choose, is one that?includes emissions both direct and indirect.

Avoiding Toe Prints

A toe print is a portion of a footprint. Sometimes, people are misled in their calculations because they only get a carbon toe print instead of a footprint. The idea is that, you should cover a smart scope of your carbon emissions. Not only measuring a portion, but the whole.

Say for example, running a conventional car. The carbon emitted from the car is not only the fuel combustion from the diesel or petrol.? Likewise, the carbon released as the gas was processed and transported to your nearby gasoline station is also an addition to your carbon footprint. If you do not understand this, you will end up calculating your direct emissions while neglecting the indirect ones.

Be wise in calculating your carbon footprint. And when in doubt, whether you are an individual or a business entity, you should seek help from experts who can do it right.

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Energy efficiency- succeed and benefit

Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it is only transformed. This being the law of conservation of energy, and given that the process of transforming energy is inefficient resulting in loss of usable energy in the process of transforming one form of energy into another form, Energy Efficiency finds a home.
Talking of Energy efficiency, think of how much useful energy can be obtained from a system or a particular technology. It is also about the use of technology that requires a lesser amount of energy to carry out the same task.

Energy efficiency is the responsibility of both demand side and supply side. Supply-side energy efficiency refers to a set of actions taken to ensure efficiency through the electricity supply chain. Supply side efficiency measures are about efficiency in electricity generation; be it operation and maintenance of existing equipment or upgrading existing equipment with state-of-the-art energy-efficient generating equipment.

The demand side energy efficiency on the other hand refers to the actions taken to use less/demand less energy. Think of less energy usage in relation to improvement of energy efficiency in buildings, solar water heaters, energy efficient lighting systems such as Compact Fluorescent Lamps, conducting energy audits to identify potential energy saving opportunities, efficient water heating systems and the list is endless.

Success of energy efficiency is a win ? win to YOU-ME-US – the energy consumers, to THEM the energy producers and suppliers and to our precious ENVIRONMENT.
Gain to energy suppliers: – Less energy usage and better energy usage patterns among consumers consequently reduces the customer load which reduces losses on the supply side. Less energy loss creates capacity on the system to serve more customers.

Gain to you-me-us: – Less energy usage and better energy usage patterns Benefits the customer through reduced Electricity bills / $ savings through lower bills.

Benefits to the environment: – Usage of less energy reduces use of fossil fuels, hence reduction in GHG emissions hence conserving our environment. Companies look at means to make rational use of their least efficient generating equipment. The objective is to improve the operation and maintenance of existing equipment or upgrade it with state-of-the-art energy-efficient technologies. Some companies have on-site electricity generation alternatives and thus tend to consider the supply side in addition to demand-side energy efficiency.

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